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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will ensure extra security for data protection of the FBR’s clients and taxpayers.

The FBR’s report on Pakistan Raises Revenue Project (PRRP) revealed that in recent years, the FBR has also undergone a major menace of data theft due to constant cyber attacking attempts by hackers. Reports highlight that the threat landscape is evolving at a faster pace than the organizations trying to protect themselves due to use of obsolete/outdated software and hardware. Over time, these cyber-attacks have primarily affected the virtual environment of the data center.

Mainly, the virtual machines are being attacked and the attackers managed to exploit the weakest link, which is the Hyper-V software by Microsoft Inc. As per the reports, the hackers made attempts to break the data rooms and there were also several warnings issued beforehand.

Official documents of the bureau have revealed that the FBR system faces approximately an average of 71,000 cyber-attacks in a single month. The published data also highlights that the FBR will be carrying out third party audits and will devise a comprehensive strategy and monitoring plan in addition to ICT up-gradation to evolve into a true-data driven digital organization. The reported data also reveals that although initial procurements may protect FBR for the short and medium-term, continued investment in the IT system is required to ensure data security and protection in a sustained manner in the long term.

The FBR report stated that the cybercrime/hacking and data security threats are emerging with the transitioning of key public services /fin-tech services to electronic regimes. Thus, for the data analytics, business intelligence tools/software extra security will be ensured for data security of the FBR clients and to avoid situation of disharmony and tension building in the FBR client over their data protection and security.

It has been noted in the baseline that FBR has faced threats on data security with cyber-attack reported in past. Although the project itself addresses this issue through component majorly but following measures could be adopted to avoid any grievances or panic among the FBR staff and clients.

Firewalls will be erected to protect data centres with independent cloud services (already proposed in the project) to prevent the risks of cybercrime, hacking and data thefts. Hiring of competent staff will provide oversight management and data protection. Backup ICT facilitation plan in case of system failure or cyber-attack especially to facilitate consignments clearance at the sea and airports to avoid any conflicts and frustration among clients, FBR report added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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